Yesterday, I went to see my bank consultant to get advice on my pension perspective, or rather absence thereof. Side-effect of constant moving and short-term contracts, I am presently eligible for a pension of 3 cents per month from the State of Arizona, which is a nice gesture but doesn't even pay the parmesan on the spaghetti. While the banker was at it, he also tried to talk me into a life-insurance.
After entering age, gender and marital status to calculate the rate, he asked what I do for a living. I'm a physicist, I told him. It then appeared a submenu with a refined job description, astrophysicist, atomic and molecular physics, etc. Lacking high energy physics, I opted for nuclear physics. Hey, is what it says on my door sign: "Assistant Professor, Sabine Hossenfelder, High Energy and Nuclear Physics." So the bankman enters nuclear physicist, and on the screen appears a warning that the occupational risk has to be assessed by a specialist. Well, I say, the only health risk that my occupation brings is that I accidentally poke out my eye with a pencil. And the highest occupational risk of a high energy physicist is probably ending up as a banker. Who wrote that software?
I finally opted against the life-insurance, but I'm now signed up for a pension plan. If I pay in for the next three decades I might then actually be able to afford the parmesan. Unless there's some major disaster, like Central Europe being 1 m below sea level by 2041 or so, I actually have a parmesan guarantee. I feel very grown-up now. At some point I'll have to figure out what to do about the spaghetti. And maybe I should make sure there's no fuel rods in my desk drawer, one never knows.